Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus
Season Of Mist
Symphonic Black Metal
11 songs (50:41)
Release year: 2020
Carach Angren, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Dutch duo Carach Angren are back from the shadows with a fresh set of dark tales designed to chill the spine and curdle the blood! As ever, this album (their sixth full-length) is a concept piece about German occultist Johann Conrad Dippel, supposedly the inspiration for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Truth and rumour about controversial figures of the 17th and 18th centuries are hard to distinguish from each other, yet Dippel was accused of grave-robbing, experiments on cadavers, and keeping company with the Devil as he searched for his own version of the elixir of life, Dippel's oil. All making for a suitably grisly inspiration for both Shelley and Carach Angren, of course, and Franckensteina Strataemontanus is accordingly a step above the slight missteps taken on the previous couple of Carach Angren albums.

It's at its strongest when galloping along, narrated intro Here in German Woodland being utterly forgettable next to the riff-heavy first track proper Scourged Ghoul Undead, which has much of the expected Cradle of Filth feel thanks to Seregor's snarled yet understandable vocals and an expertly-woven symphonic backing. Yet the rhythm section is notably modern, audible bass and only occasionally blastbeating drums making for a more modern and groovier form of blackened metal than you'd expect from Carach Angren, and that's before subtle industrial elements are introduced around the midpoint, electronic humming effects like some 60s depiction of a mad scientist's lair adding a uniquely atmospheric touch. This industrial influence comes into its own on the pounding title track which is closer to Samael than Summoning; still not simplistic with layered backing beats and piano and even some Rammstein-esque spoken accented lyrics before a downright catchy chorus above a techno-y pulse.

There are plenty more experiments across the album, the groovy The Necromancer working surprisingly well alongside backing violins and tech-thrash-y riff screechings. Monster has more of that mid-paced pounding Rammstein feel, echoed in the exaggeratedly-pronounced German lyrics to Der Vampir von Nürnberg, which allows the orchestrations more time to work their epic magic. And they make a good contrast to the more typical Carach Angren stylings of Sewn for Solitude and Skull With a Forked Tongue, solidly savage speedy Borgir-ian orchestral metal. It hits its peak on the closing Like A Conscious Parasite I Roam, with some of the best use of the symphonic and black metal elements on the album, weaving both into a majestic ride through the eight-minute track and bringing the album to a finale well (bonus track Frederick's Experiments being a short but sweet distillation of the preceding formulas).

The oddest moment is not musical but in the lyrics to Operation Compass which refers to the British and Commonwealth campaign in North Africa during World War II against a much larger Italian and Libyan army - a suitably dramatic topic for musical examination, of course, but on the surface having little to do with Dippel's tale! All in all, a solid album with some intriguing experiments suggesting that the band's creative well has not run dry - although it's not tremendous news that after the recording of this album founding member and drummer Ivo "Namtar" Wijers left the band, citing dissatisfaction with the music industry. It remains to be seen where Carach Angren steer their phantom ship, but for the moment Franckensteina Strataemontanus is a good reminder of their talents.

Killing Songs :
Scourged Ghoul Undead, Franckensteina Strataemontanus, Sewn for Solitude, Like A Conscious Parasite I Roam
Goat quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Carach Angren that we have reviewed:
Carach Angren - Lammendam reviewed by Andy and quoted 76 / 100
Carach Angren - Where the Corpses Sink Forever reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
Carach Angren - Death Came Through A Phantom Ship reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:02 am
View and Post comments